Status Report

NASA Hubble Space Telescope Daily Report 3599

By SpaceRef Editor
April 27, 2004
Filed under , ,
NASA Hubble Space Telescope Daily Report 3599

HUBBLE SPACE TELESCOPE – Continuing to collect World Class Science




ACS/HRC 9987

Coronagraphic search for disks around nearby stars

We will use the coronagraphic and imaging modes of the High Resolution
camera to study of the role of circumstellar disks in planetary system
formation over timescales of ~1-1000 Myr. Our targets comprise pre
Main-Sequence {MS} and MS stars, selected by infrared excess, and
targets selected from SIRTF surveys. Some targets, like Beta Pictoris
have debris disks that have been detected at optical or near-IR
wavelengths, while others have disks inferred from mid-IR or ISO
observations. We will obtain multicolor images of each target’s
circumstellar environment for the purpose of {1} detecting and
characterizing disk morphologies over all scales {including warps and
regions of enhanced or depleted density}, and {2} seeking evidence of
embedded planets. Direct and occulted images will be recorded for
studying the disks within 2 arcseconds of these targets; the
coronagraph will be used to image the outer regions of the disks.
Together with existing infrared observations, we will provide
constraints on the sizes, distribution, and composition of dust


CCD Daily Monitor

This program consists of basic tests to monitor, the read noise, the
development of hot pixels and test for any source of noise in ACS CCD
detectors. This programme will be executed once a day for the entire
lifetime of ACS.


Calibrating the Black Hole Mass Scale for Quasars

We propose to obtain ACS/WFC imaging of all 17 low-redshift quasars
that have black hole masses measured from reverberation mapping. This
is a key sample since all secondary methods to estimate black hole
mass in quasars depend on this local reverberation-mapped sample for
their calibration. The best external check on reverberation mapping is
whether it gives results that are consistent with the black hole mass-
host galaxy correlations of nearby galaxies. For local Seyfert
galaxies the reverberation masses appear consistent with the M-sigma
correlation, but it is not known whether this also holds true for
quasars because the stellar velocity dispersions of quasar hosts are
virtually impossible to measure. We will use the ACS data to measure
accurate bulge parameters {luminosity and effective radius} for the
host galaxies of the reverberation-mapped quasars. From the
fundamental plane or the Faber-Jackson relation, we can estimate the
host galaxy velocity dispersion and test whether the reverberation
masses follow the M-sigma relation even for objects with quasar
luminosities. This is a crucial test if we are to trust the
reverberation masses as the lowest rung on a "distance ladder" of
black hole mass estimators for quasars, so that quasars can be used to
trace the cosmological growth history of black holes. {Note added in
Phase II: the TAC awarded us 8 orbits to observe 7 quasars and a PSF

ACS/WFC 9727

Exploration of the SN Ia Hubble Diagram at z > 1.2

In the spirit of a Treasury proposal, we propose to organize, and
deliver to the astronomical community, non-proprietary follow-up
observations of ~10 Type Ia supernovae at 1<z<1.7 that are expected to
be discovered in a Cycle 12 Treasury proposal. Together with the
currently available sample, this would provide a Hubble diagram with
over 20 SNe Ia in this redshift range, where it is possible to test
the current cosmological model in the epoch of deceleration: If z ~
0.5 SNe Ia are fainter due to evolution rather than an accelerating
expansion, they should continue to get fainter at even higher
redshifts. This size sample will show trends and outliers, and permit
a more rigorous treatment of the asymmetric amplification distribution
from gravitational lensing. This is a key redshift range for the
studies of dark energy that will be done with future surveys {and
future instruments now being designed}; this dataset will lay the
ground-work for these studies by establishing the simple properties of
the supernovae in this redshift range, including magnitudes, colors,
and timescales. If considered more appropriate, this proposal could be
treated as a part of a Treasury or Director’s Discretionary program,
since the data would be available to everybody immediately, and we
would welcome others who would want to work with us on it.


The COSMOS 2-Degree ACS Survey

We will undertake a 2 square degree imaging survey {Cosmic Evolution
Survey — COSMOS} with ACS in the I {F814W} band of the VIMOS
equatorial field. This wide field survey is essential to understand
the interplay between Large Scale Structure {LSS} evolution and the
formation of galaxies, dark matter and AGNs and is the one region of
parameter space completely unexplored at present by HST. The
equatorial field was selected for its accessibility to all
ground-based telescopes and low IR background and because it will
eventually contain ~100, 000 galaxy spectra from the VLT-VIMOS
instrument. The imaging will detect over 2 million objects with I> 27
mag {AB, 10 sigma}, over 35, 000 Lyman Break Galaxies {LBGs} and
extremely red galaxies out to z ~ 5. COSMOS is the only HST project
specifically designed to probe the formation and evolution of
structures ranging from galaxies up to Coma-size clusters in the epoch
of peak galaxy, AGN, star and cluster formation {z ~0.5 to 3}. The
size of the largest structures necessitate the 2 degree field. Our
team is committed to the assembly of several public ancillary datasets
including the optical spectra, deep XMM and VLA imaging, ground-based
optical/IR imaging, UV imaging from GALEX and IR data from SIRTF.
Combining the full-spectrum multiwavelength imaging and spectroscopic
coverage with ACS sub-kpc resolution, COSMOS will be Hubble’s ultimate
legacy for understanding the evolution of both the visible and dark

FGS 10011

Monitoring FGS1r’s Interferometric Response as a Function of Spectral

This proposal obtains reference point source Transfer Functions
{S-Curves} for FGS1r through the F583W filter and the F5ND attenuator
at the center position of the FGS1r FOV for a variety of stars of
different spectral types. These Transfer Functions are needed to
support the analysis of GO science data for the study of close and
wide binary star systems and for determining the angular size and
shape of extended sources. This proposal observes stars that have been
observed in previous cycles to monitor the long term evolution of the
FGS1r S-curves. This proposal also {1} monitors the FGS1r Lateral
Color response {using stars Latcol-A and Latcol-B}, {2} calibrates the
"Pos/Trans" bias of a star’s position as determined from Transfer mode
and Position mode observations, and {3} calibrates the shift of a
star’s centroid when observed with F5ND relative to that when observed
with F583W.

NIC/NIC3 9865

The NICMOS Parallel Observing Program

We propose to continue managing the NICMOS pure parallel program.
Based on our experience, we are well prepared to make optimal use of
the parallel opportunities. The improved sensitivity and efficiency of
our observations will substantially increase the number of
line-emitting galaxies detected. As our previous work has
demonstrated, the most frequently detected line is Halpha at
0.7<z<1.9, which provides an excellent measure of current star
formation rate. We will also detect star-forming and active galaxies
in other redshift ranges using other emission lines. The grism
observations will produce by far the best available Halpha luminosity
functions over the crucial–but poorly observed–redshift range where
galaxies appear to have assembled most of their stellar mass. This key
process of galaxy evolution needs to be studied with IR data; we found
that observations at shorter wavelengths appear to have missed a large
fraction of the star-formation in galaxies, due to dust reddening. We
will also obtain deep F110W and F160W images, to examine the space
densities and morphologies of faint red galaxies. In addition to
carrying out the public parallels, we will make the fully reduced and
calibrated images and spectra available on-line, with some
ground-based data for the deepest parallel fields included.

NIC1 9833

T Dwarf Companions: Searching for the Coldest Brown Dwarfs

Faint companions to known stars have historically led to the discovery
of new classes of stellar and substellar objects. Because these
discoveries are typically limited by the flux ratio of the components
in the system, the intrinsically faintest companions are most
effectively identified around the intrinsically faintest primaries. We
propose to use NICMOS to image a sample of 22 of the coolest known
{T-type} brown dwarfs in the Solar Neighborhood in order to search for
fainter and cooler brown dwarf companions. The high spatial resolution
of the NIC 1 detector enables us to distinguish binary systems with
apparent separations greater than 0"08, or physical separations
greater than 1.2 AU at the nominal distances of the objects in our
sample. Furthermore, the substantial sensitivity of NICMOS imaging
allows us to probe companion masses of 5-50 Jupiter masses and
companion effective temperatures of 250-1300 K in a maximally
efficient manner. Based on work to date, we expect that roughly 20% of
the objects in our sample will be binary, and that one or two of these
will likely harbor a significantly fainter secondary. Hence, we expect
to find a companion cooler than any currently known brown dwarf, a
potential prototype for the next spectral class. In addition, our
investigation will add substantially to the sample of known binary
brown dwarfs, allowing improved statistical analyses of the binary
fraction, separation distribution, and mass ratio distribution of
these systems, key quantities for probing brown dwarf formation. We
will also identify optimal substellar systems for astrometric mass
measurements, a critical check for theoretical models of brown dwarfs
and extrasolar planets.

NIC1/NIC2/NIC3 8792

NICMOS Post-SAA calibration – CR Persistence Part 3

A new procedure proposed to alleviate the CR-persistence problem of
NICMOS. Dark frames will be obtained immediately upon exiting the SAA
contour 23, and every time a NICMOS exposure is scheduled within 50
minutes of coming out of the SAA. The darks will be obtained in
parallel in all three NICMOS Cameras. The POST-SAA darks will be
non-standard reference files available to users with a USEAFTER
date/time mark. The keyword ‘USEAFTER=date/time’ will also be added to
the header of each POST-SAA DARK frame. The keyword must be populated
with the time, in addition to the date, because HST crosses the SAA ~8
times per day so each POST-SAA DARK will need to have the appropriate
time specified, for users to identify the ones they need. Both the raw
and processed images will be archived as POST-SAA DARKSs. Generally we
expect that all NICMOS science/calibration observations started within
50 minutes of leaving an SAA will need such maps to remove the CR
persistence from the science images. Each observation will need its
own CRMAP, as different SAA passages leave different imprints on the
NICMOS detectors.

NIC2 9726

A NICMOS search for obscured supernovae in starburst galaxies

Recent near-IR monitoring campaigns were successful in detecting
obscured supernovae {SNe} in starburst galaxies. The inferred SN rate
is much higher than that obtained in previous optical campaigns, but
it is still significantly lower than expected by the high level star
formation of these systems. One possible explanation for the shortage
of SNe is that most of them occur in the nuclear region, where the
limited angular resolution of groundbased observations prevents their
detection. We propose NICMOS SNAP observations of a sample of
starburst galaxies already observed once by NICMOS, with the goal of
exploiting its sensitivity and angular resolution to detect nuclear
obscured SNe which might have been missed by groundbased surveys.
These observation will allow to assess the real SN rate in starbust
galaxies and deliver a sample of SN occurring in the extreme
environment of galactic nuclei. We expect to detect more than 55 SNe
{if the whole sample is observed}. If the number of SNe detected in
the program is much lower than expected it would prompt for a revision
of our understanding of the relation between the star formation rate
and the SN rate.

NIC2 9856

A near-IR imaging survey of submm galaxies with spectroscopic

Submillimeter {submm} surveys with SCUBA have identified a population
of obscured star-forming and active galaxies at high redshift. Our
recent spectroscopic campaigns with the Keck-10m telescope have
uncovered redshifts for 37 SCUBA galaxies. The wide redshift range of
the radio identified submm population {z=1-4} implies that many
varieties of sources driven by different physical processes may be
selected in a submm survey. We propose to use HST-NICMOS, ACS to
obtain 2-filter images of a sample of 15 SCUBA galaxies with redshifts
spanning z=0.8-3.5. Our goal is to understand what physical process
{major mergers?} drive their strong evolution and great luminosities,
and what the implications are for galaxy evolution models.

NIC2 9875

The Fundamental Plane of Massive Gas-Rich Mergers

We propose deep NICMOS H-band imaging of a carefully selected sample
of 33 luminous, late-stage galactic mergers. This program is part of a
comprehensive investigation of the most luminous mergers in the nearby
universe, the ultraluminous infrared galaxies {ULIGs}. The
high-resolution HST images will complement an extensive set of
ground-based data that include long-slit NIR spectra from a recently
approved Large VLT Programme. This unique dataset will allow us to
derive with unprecedented precision structural -and- kinematic
parameters for a large unbiased sample of objects spanning the entire
ULIG luminosity function. These data will refine the fundamental plane
of massive gas-rich mergers and enable us to answer the following
questions: {1} Do ultraluminous mergers form elliptical galaxies, and
in particular, giant ellipticals? {2} Do ULIGs evolve into optically
bright QSOs? The results from this detailed study of massive mergers
in the local universe will be relevant to understanding galaxy
formation and evolution at earlier epochs, and in particular, the
dusty sub-mm population that accounts for more than half of the star
formation at z > 1.

NIC3 9999

The COSMOS 2-Degree ACS Survey NICMOS Parallels

The COSMOS 2-Degree ACS Survey NICMOS Parallels. This program is a
companion to program 9822.

S/C 10093

Test of Filter Wheel Flight Software Update {ACS}

This test will be run following the installation of a flight software
change which will position the filter wheels more accurately. It
incorporates an ACS anneal and will substitute for one of the routine
anneals that are carried out every four weeks. A series of internal
flats will be taken with several filters. The exposures will be just
long enough to obtain engineering data concerning the wheel positions.
One external earth flat will also be taken to provide visual
confirmation that the filter is correctly aligned. In the event of a
problem being found, an operations request will be issued to revert to
the original software. There are several requirements affecting timing
and real-time contact. 1. Visit 1 must be scheduled to start within 12
hours of an SMS boundary. 2. Engineering telemetry contact must be
available during visits 4, 5 and 6 3. An uplink opportunity must be
available, at least 30 minutes after execution of the test, i.e.
completion of visits 4, 5 and 6 {visit 7 should have several orbit gap
from the last of 4, 5 and 6. 4. Visit 7 may not proceed, nor may any
other ACS observation take place after the start of visit 1 until the
uplink opportunity has occurred.

STIS/CCD 10016

STIS CCD Performance Monitor

This activity measures the baseline performance and commandability of
the CCD subsystem. Only primary amplifier D is used. Bias and Flat
Field exposures are taken in order to measure bias level, read noise,
CTE, and gain. Numerous bias frames are taken to permit construction
of "superbias" frames in which the effects of read noise have been
rendered negligible. Full frame and binned observations are made, with
binning factors of 2 x 1, 1 x 2, 2 x 2, 4 x 1, and 4 x 2. Bias frames
are taken in subarray readouts to check the bias level for ACQ and
ACQ/PEAK observations. All exposures are internals.

STIS/CCD 10018

CCD Dark Monitor-Part 2

Monitor the darks for the STIS CCD.

STIS/CCD 10020

CCD Bias Monitor – Part 2

Monitor the bias in the 1×1, 1×2, 2×1, and 2×2 bin settings at gain=1,
and 1×1 at gain = 4, to build up high-S/N superbiases and track the
evolution of hot columns.


Volatile Abundances and the D/H Ratio in Long-Period Comets

Comet NEAT {C/2001 Q4} is predicted to reach naked-eye visibility in
the spring of 2004, under excellent conditions for observations with
HST. Although predicting cometary magnitudes more than 1 year in
advance is notoriously risky, C/NEAT seems likely to be exceptionally
active, allowing us for the first time to perform sensitive
measurements of the D/H and OD/OH ratios. Accurate measurements of the
deuterium abundance in comets, which can vary in different species,
are crucial for determining if comets retain a signature of their
possible interstellar origin and if they supplied a significant
fraction of the water on Earth. HST observations of C/NEAT will
additionally provide accurate abundances for highly volatile ices in
the nucleus, such as CO, CO2 {via Cameron band emission}, and S2,
which also provide important insights on the comet’s origin and
evolution. This opportunity in cycle 12 is unique in the history of
HST and is unlikely to be repeated during its remaining lifetime.

STIS/MA1 10034

Cycle 12 MAMA Dark Monitor

This test performs the routine monitoring of the MAMA detector dark
noise. This proposal will provide the primary means of checking on
health of the MAMA detectors systems through frequent monitoring of
the background count rate. The purpose is to look for evidence of
change in dark indicative of detector problem developing.

WFPC2 10070

WFPC2 CYCLE 12 Supplemental Darks Part 2/3

This dark calibration program obtains 3 dark frames every day to
provide data for monitoring and characterizing the evolution of hot

WFPC2 10072


This calibration proposal is the Cycle 12 routine internal monitor for
WFPC2, to be run weekly to monitor the health of the cameras. A
variety of internal exposures are obtained in order to provide a
monitor of the integrity of the CCD camera electronics in both bays
{gain 7 and gain 15}, a test for quantum efficiency in the CCDs, and a
monitor for possible buildup of contaminants on the CCD windows.


Significant Spacecraft Anomalies: (The following are preliminary
reports of potential non-nominal performance that will be
investigated.) None


  • 17153-1 Revised Genslew for proposal 9906 – slot 11 @117/1428z
  • 17154-0 Genslew for proposal 9906 – slot 1 @117/1653z
  • 17155-0 Genslew for proposal 9906 – slot 2 @117/2035z
  • 17157-0 Genslew for proposal 9906 slot 3 @117/2308z
  • 17158-0 Genslew for proposal 9906 slot 4 @118/0042z


                          SCHEDULED     SUCCESSFUL    FAILURE TIMES
FGS GSacq              12                       12
FGS REacq               3                         3
FHST Update            23                       23


Battery 6 Capacity Test, three opportunities scheduled to ensure no
large Trickle Discharge in the orbit prior to start of test (OR
17146-4 with attached Battery 6 Reconditioning script).

First opportunity 118/11:07Z (connect SA, Section 6 to Diode Bus B) –
120/09:07Z (discharge terminated), second opportunity 118/12:43Z –
120/10:43Z, and third opportunity 118/14:20Z – 120/12:20Z.

Set FULROC to nominal 6-battery values and enable OCA scheduled
120/20:43Z. Battery 6 back online in FSW approximately 21 hours from
end of discharge. Reconfiguration to FSW 6-battery system scheduled

Battery Pressure Test Limits and 6-battery Benchmark will be
reevaluated following Battery 6 Capacity Test.

Continuous recording of engineering data is required during the
Battery 6 Capacity Test, however, due to the data volume during the
test, there are several gaps in the continuous engineering recording
to allow for SSR science and engineering dumps. The ESTR will be used
to record engineering data during the SSR science and engineering
dumps. See attachment to OR 17156 for expected gap times. The ESTR
will be played back only if loss of real-time telemetry occurs during
an SSR playback.

SpaceRef staff editor.